Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre (CRS)

Finalised projects

Table of contents:

The Role of Religion in Northern Europe

This project aimed to develop the theoretical discussion about the role of religion in Sweden and the Nordic countries from the findings of the international research programme Welfare and Religion in a European Perspective (WREP). The project was completed in 2012 through the publications:

  • Bäckström Anders and Davie, Grace and Edgardh Ninna and Pettersson Per (eds.) (2010 och 2011) Welfare and Religion in 21st Century Europe: Volume 1 och Volume 2 (Farnham: Ashgate)
  • Davie, Grace ‘Belief and unbelief: Two sides of a coin’, Approaching Religion, 2/1, 2012
  • Davie, Grace ‘Religion in 21st Century Europe: Framing the Debate’, Irish Theological Quarterly, 78/3, 2013
  • Davie Grace ‘Understanding religion in Western Europe: A continually evolving mosaic’, in Cumper, P. and Lewis, T. (eds), Religion, Human Rights and Secular Society in Europe (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 2013)

Participating researchers: Anders Bäckström, Grace Davie.


Religious Change at National and Local Level

The aim of this work package was to document and analyze religious and social changes in the Nordic countries on a local and national level. Patterns of continuity and change concerning the presence of religion is analyzed through the inclusion of an historical perspective. The work package consisted of the following subprojects:
Analysis of existing data
Analysis of existing data from the concluded research project Welfare and Values in Europe (WaVE)(qualitative data) and international surveys such as World Value Survey (WVS). The project was concluded in 2012 with the following publications:

Participating researchers: Anders Bäckström, Pär Pettersson


Multilevel analysis of change in 20 Swedish municipalities

This project studied religious and social change in 20 strategically selected municipalities and was based on the internationally unique supply of longitudinal microlevel demographic data in Swedish archives.
The study was ended prematurely due to the untimely death of Thorleif Pettersson.


Individualism versus civic and religious citizenship

This work package consisted of an analysis of the relation between a growing individualism and attitudes to civil society and religious values expressed for example in the World Values Survey. The study was concluded in 2011 through the doctoral thesis Treacherous Liberties: Isaiah Berlin’s Theory of Positive and Negative Freedom in Contemporary Political Culture. The dissertation problematizes Ronald Ingelhart’s assumption that values of freedom always imply increased tolerance and plurality. It seems rather so that some ideals of freedom can lead to intolerance and moral arrogance, not least when these ideals are combined with strong secularism and prejudices against religious minorities.

Participating researcher: Gina Gustavsson.


Changing relationships between state and religion in Sweden

This work package consisted of an analysis of the changing relations between state and religion in Sweden between the years 1988, 1998 and 2008. This study was part of the Nordic comparative project ”the role of religion in the public sphere” (NOREL, http://www.kifo.no/index.cfm?id=266100).
The study focused on three areas:

  1. legal regulations of religion.
  2. Religion in public institutions: military, prisons, hospitals, schools and universities.
  3. Civil religion within public institutions.

The project was concluded in 2014 and will be presented in a publication of a chapter in an international collection (forthcoming 2017), and has also been presented in:
Pettersson, Per (2011) State and Religion in Sweden: Ambiguity Between Disestablishment and Religious control, Nordic Journal of Religion and Society.

Participating researcher: Per Pettersson.


Religious perceptions, social and political trust in the Nordic countries and East Asia

This work package aimed to produce a comparative study of the Nordic countries and East Asia concerning religious perceptions, social trust, political trust. Confucian East Asia and Protestant Northern Europe are culturally distinctive when it comes to the values of the respective citizens. Thus, within the framework of a general modernisation process there are different co-variations between the religious perceptions of citizens, the degree of social trust and the degree of political trust.

Participating researcher: Mattias Burell.


Mass media and religious change

The presence of religion in the secular public sphere

In this project Marta Axner analysed the contributions of religious leaders in the public debate through op-eds published in three daily Swedish newspapers between 2001-2011, and discussed how this presence can be interpreted through the lens of theories about religious change, public religion and mediatization of religion. The project was completed in 2013 through the publication of the dissertation: Axner, Marta (2013) Public Religions in Swedish Media: A Study of Religious Actors on Three Newspaper Debate Pages 2001-2011. Studies in Religion and Society, 11. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.

Participating researcher: Marta Axner


The resurgence of religion? A study of religion and modernity in Sweden with the daily press as case study

This project studied changes in the representations of religion and relations between religion and values central to a modern democratic society in editorials of eleven major Swedish daily newspapers during the period 1976-2010. One of the main findings is that religion over time increasingly becomes a vehicle for discussing issues of democracy, civic rights and national identity. The project was completed in 2015 and have been presented in the following publications:

  • Mia Lövheim and Alf Linderman (2015) Media, Religion and Modernity: Editorials and Religion in Swedish Daily Press. In Hjelm, Titus (ed) Is God Back? Reconsidering the new visibility of religion. Bloomsbury.
  • Linderman, Alf & Mia Lövheim (2016) “Measuring resurgence of religion? Methodological considerations in a study of Swedish editorials”, Nordicom Review 37 (2016) Special Issue, pp 101-114.
  • Lövheim, Mia (forthcoming Journal of Religion in Europe 2017) “Religion, Mediatization and ‘Complementary learning processes’ in Swedish Editorials”.

Participating researchers: Alf Linderman, Mia Lövheim.


Religion in Nordic Media 1998-2008

This project studied the representations of religion in the Swedish daily press as part of the Nordic
comparative project ”The role of religion in the public sphere” NOREL ( http://www.kifo.no/index.cfm?id=266100). The project focused on changes over time in Nordic press. One of the main results of this project is an increased diversity in the presence of religion in the Nordic press. The findings of the project has been presented in the following publications:

  • Lövheim, Mia and Knut Lundby (2013), Mediated Religion Across Time And Space. A Case Study Of Norwegian Newspapers, Nordic Journal of Religion and Society.
  • Mia Lövheim: (2014) Mediatization and Religion. In Lundby, Knut (ed.). Mediatization of Communication. (Handbooks of Communication Science 21). Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter Mounton, pp. 547-571.
  • Lövheim, Mia, Tomas Axelson & Marta Axner (2015) Religion och Medier. In Lövheim, M & Nordin Magdalena (red) Sociologiska perspektiv på religion I Sverige. Malmö: Gleerups, pp. 143-160.

Participating researchers: Mia Lövheim.


An exploratory case study of the TV-program Halal-tv

This case study focused on the debate preceding the first episode of the tv-program Halal-tv, broadcasted by Swedish public service television in the fall of 2008. The study analyzes the debate
in op-eds and blogs, and focuses on different perspectives on the role of public service media and of religion in the public sphere expressed in the debate.
The project was completed in 2011 through the publication of the article "Halal-tv: Negotiating the place of religion in Swedish public discourse", Nordic Journal of Religion and Society.

Participating researchers: Mia Lövheim, Maria Axner.


Existential Issues in Women’s Magazines

This project studied life style magazines for women as actors, arenas and potential resources for existential issues, religious identity and meaning making in Sweden today.
The study combined an analysis of the magazine’s discourses on health and wellbeing through a content analysis of Amelia, Tara and M-magasin, and a reception study with readers. The project was ended in May 2016 through the publication of the dissertation: Winell, Anneli (2016) "Godis för kropp och själ": Välbefinnande och vardagsandlighet i tre svenska kvinnotidningar. Studies in Religion and Society, 14. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.
Participating researcher: Anneli Winell


Politics and Religion in the Nordic Countries

The aim of this PhD project was to focus on the role of religion in contemporary public policy in the Nordic countries. Besides being part of the Impact programme it was also part of the NOREL programme (www.religioninpublicsphere.no). The following empirical studies were included: religion in the form of qualitative and quantitative data in political party platforms and parliamentary debates 1988-2008 and a case study on the role of religion in the parliamentary debates on same-sex unions. The project was completed in 2015 through the publication of the dissertation:

Participating researcher: Jonas Lindberg.